2017 Teachers of the Year

2017 Teachers of the Year pose at Patrick Henry
Pictured: Jean-Paul Balmat, Claudia Sanchez-Guevara, Vanessa Hart, Jaime Brown, Robert Daluraya and Denise Tayco

Claudia Sanchez-Guevara, Vanessa Hart and Jean-Paul Balmat are San Diego Unified’s 2017 Teachers of the Year. 

The three were honored, along with runners up Robert Daluraya, Denise Tayco and Jaime Brown, and more than 130 teachers of the year from individual school sites, at the Day of the Teacher celebration at Patrick Henry High school.

Superintendent Cindy Marten joined Board of Education members, district leadership, school administrators, families and friends of teachers being recognized at the annual event. 

The afternoon festivities started with a reception catered by the culinary arts students from Morse and Garfield high schools. The students prepared and served savory appetizers, such as pesto mozzarella pinwheels and Ensenada-style shrimp cocktail, and desserts like carrot cake and cinnamon mint cheese rollups. A string quartet from Patrick Henry provided entertainment. 

The ceremony kicked off with a performance by The Preservationists, the award-winning jazz ensemble from Mission Bay High, under the direction of 2017 High School Teacher of the Year Jean-Paul Balmat. Patrick Henry High’s Bel Canto Ensemble sang the National Anthem and the school’s Navy JROTC presented the colors. 

The recognition portion of the event began with a presentation by the San Diego Education Fund, who honored their 2017 Teacher and STEM Scholarship recipients. Teacher scholarship recipients plan to pursue a career in teaching and return to San Diego Unified following graduation. STEM scholarship recipients are pursuing degrees in the STEM fields.   

Following the student presentation, the 2017 Teachers of the Year were recognized with awards and video tributes. Here’s a little more about our honorees:

This year’s winners are:

  • Claudia Sanchez-Guevara, fifth-grade, Bethune K-8. She had such an impact on her fourth-grade students, that they successfully petitioned to have her become their fifth grade teacher.  There is little question Sanchez-Guevara has a tremendous impact on her students. She relates to them. She cares for them. She sets high expectations for them.
  • Vanessa Hart, six- and seventh-grade English, De Portola Middle. She strives to create a relaxed, fun environment so that students feel comfortable and aren’t afraid to take risks with their learning. Hart uses a lot of historical fiction to fuel compassion, and will often turn lessons into games in order to motivate students to learn. 
  • Jean-Paul Balmat, music teacher, Mission Bay High. He became a music teacher because of the influence his own music teacher had on him when he was a student at Mission Bay. If there was ever any doubt about the impact a teacher can have on a student, Balmat is proof. He shares his love of music with students and teaches them about more than just notes on a page. He teaches music concepts, leadership, respect and how to carry oneself like a professional musician.

This year’s runners up are: Robert Daluraya, science prep, Hickman Elementary; Denise Tayco, seventh-grade science, Pershing Middle; and Jaime Brown, 12th-grade IB English and IB film, San Diego High School of International Studies.

All site teachers of the year had the opportunity to go on stage, say their name and be acknowledged for their dedication to the teaching profession. 

The night concluded with the District Teachers of the Year receiving letters of recognition and gifts from local elected officials and from sponsors California Coast Credit Union, California Schools VEBA and Mission Federal Credit Union. 

Sponsors of the Teacher of the Year event include: California Coast Credit Union, California Schools VEBA, eLiveLife.com, Mission Federal Credit Union, San Diego Education Association, San Diego Education Fund, San Diego Unified – College, Career and Technical Education, The San Diego Padres, The Standard, and the Art Institute of California – San Diego.

Video Tributes:

Claudia Sanchez-Guevara

Vanessa Hart

Jean-Paul Balmat

Media Coverage:

10 News


2017 Site Teachers of the Year

Site Teacher of the YearSchool/Department
Chris AhrensAdapted Physical Education
Heather AllanCadman Elementary School
Teresa (Teri) AngMann Middle School
Ken BaileyDoyle Elementary School
Kelly BakerBell Middle School
Jean-Paul BalmatMission Bay High School
Diane BarracloughRowan Elementary School
Frances BarraganPorter Elementary School
Susan BarrettGreen Elementary School
Kyra BartlettPatrick Henry High School
Deborah BaumerLanguage Academy
Rosemarie BellaParadise Hills Elementary School
Brian BenzPoint Loma High School
Linda BertinLongfellow K-8
Julie BestMiramar Ranch Elementary School
Alex BlackwelderScripps Ranch High School
Anne Marie BodenwieserLinda Vista Elementary School
Nancy BognatzHamilton Elementary School
Corina BorevitzGolden Hill K-8
Scott BorinoVista Grande Elementary School
Linda BoswellHenry Clay Elementary School
Elizabeth BowersMarston Middle School
Raymond BrandesSan Diego Met High School
Jaime BrownSan Diego High School of Int. Studies
Kateena BuggValencia Park Elementary School
Diana CelleHolmes Elementary School
Julie ChamblessWangenheim Middle School
Ben ChampionCrown Point Jr. Music Academy
Whitney ChaseMadison High School
Amy ChildsOak Park Elementary School
Rick CorlettKearny High DMD
Laurie CovillRoss Elementary School
Jamie CraigGarfield High School
Mary CruikshankBay Point State Preschool
Carinne DaleyFay Elementary School
Robert DalurayaHickman Elementary School
Patricia DarganAdams Elementary School
Cheryl DavidWashington Elementary School
Ashley de GoedePacific Beach Elementary School
Jason DemendoncaSerra High School
Alison DickensKearny High SCT
Dexter DimacaliFreese Elementary School
Pam DjordjevskiMira Mesa High School
Samantha DoernerTaft Middle School
Josielyn DungoJones Elementary School
Julieta DuranEncanto Elementary School
Jim EssexLa Jolla High School
Evayon FarnumToler Elementary School
Benjamin FelixIbarra Elementary School
Candice FinnCesar Chavez Elementary School
Robert FordRosa Parks Elementary School
Allyson FrasurePerry Elementary School
Jessica FrichtelKearny High EID
Jessie FriendWhittier
Jeffrey GodesBaker Elementary School
Hiram GonzalezStandley Middle School
Claudine GresselSherman Elementary School
Agustin GuardadoBurbank Elementary School
Claudia Sanchez-GuevaraBethune K-8
Manuel GutierrezLincoln High School
Michelle  HackleyPacific View Leadership Elementary
Vanessa HartDe Portola Middle School
Kirk Hoffman  Visual and Performing Arts
Deborah  HornHage Elementary School
Chris  HortonClark Middle School
Mark HoskissonALBA Community Day School
Monique HudsonCorreia Middle School
Steve IngrumCPMA
Jennifer JimenezWalker Elementary School
Holly JohnsonJerabek Elementary School
Angela JuradoBarnard Asian Pacific Language Academy
Kathleen KapingChallenger Middle School
Donna KempMiller Elementary School
Ray KinneSan Diego High School of Business
Gina Koch-TorresKimbrough Elementary School
Christine LaseakGarfield Elementary School
Nicole LatuszekLewis Middle School
Laurie LavacheiHigh Virtual Academy
Sarah LeachRoosevelt Middle School
Theodora LongJohnson Elementary School
Nancy LunaBoone Elementary School
Frances MackenzieMcKinley Elementary School
Kendra MaddenEast Village High School
Jason MaxwellWebster Elementary School
Becky McCartyOcean Beach Elementary School
William McClainCarver Elementary School
Brooke MellingCentral Elementary School
Lony MendezAudubon K-8
Eleanor MianoEuclid Elementary School
Sharon MillerChesterton Elementary School
Mathew MillerTRACE
Bonnie MilseDailard Elementary School
Lynn MinorJefferson Elementary School
Kaitlin MoffattMarshall Middle School
Orelia MooreHorton Elementary School
Daria MurphyAlcott Elementary School
Marika NieratkoRolando Park Elementary School
John O'DonnellPacific Beach Middle School
Trudy PachonMt Everest Academy
Katie PaganMarshall Elementary School
Amy PalaciosCherokee Point Elementary School
Amy PalmoreKnox Middle School
Dusty PedrottiField Elementary School
Monica Ponce-GutierrezWilson Middle School
Lisa PopovichLa Jolla Elementary School
Lorraine PovedaPenn Elementary School
Laura PreismanMuirlands Middle School
Maria QuintanaKumeyaay Elementary School
Linda RandallGage Elementary School
Andrew RobinsonAngier Elementary School
Dominica "Nikki" Rodriguez-Adams Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary School
Deborah SadlerCrawford High School
Jill SchenkSan Diego High School SciTech
Lisa SchifrinChollas/Mead Elementary School
Patrick SchoettlerMillennial Tech Middle School
Jennifer SegarsWhitman Elementary School
Charity SilvasJoyner MicroSociety School
Janell SmallLaura Rodriguez Elementary School
Scott SpaldingNormal Heights Elementary School
Laura SternMark Twain High School
Donna TalnerJonas Salk Elementary School
Denise TaycoPershing Middle School
Theresa TranEricson Elementary
Cynthia TrunzoFulton K-8
Reyna TurnerLoma Portal Elementary School
Jennifer ValenzuelaKit Carson Elementary School
Amy VarasHearst Elementary School
Rosalina VergaraBalboa Elementary School
Stephanie VestHoover High School
Benjamin VosburghInnovation Middle School
Tom WaczekEllen Browning Scripps Elementary
Jennifer WiserLafayette Elementary School
Maj XanderMontgomery Middle School
Andrew ZafutoUniversity City High School